Grab your grass skirt and coconut bra. Dayton has set a luau theme for the 2011 edition of the Tennessee Strawberry Festival.
The highlight is the annual parade that draws thousands to the downtown business district. But before any Rhea County hula dancers float down Market Street, there will be a week of tasty activities celebrating the bountiful red berries of spring.
"It's not Riverbend, but it does turn this street from nothing to huge crowds," said Tec Conar, co-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce's festival entertainment committee.
"Everybody loves it," he said of the festival. "It's part of the quality of life of Dayton."
Leading off events is the H Bar M Rodeo's "Greatest Show on Dirt" tonight and Saturday. The arena will be set up on Delaware Avenue near the softball complex.
The action remains at the south end of town Tuesday with the start of the carnival, which will run nightly through Saturday.
Wednesday is all about the berries with a pie and cake baking contest at Pooh's Place and shortcake served at Centennial Park. Conar said hot dogs, hamburgers and other concessions will be available with the shortcake, along with special pricing deals for families.
Also featured will be performances by the Community Kids Choir (5:30 p.m.), the Rhea County High School Jazz Band (6:30 p.m.) and "berry-oke" singers (7:30 p.m.) on the Centennial Park Stage.
Thursday will be Children's Night at Pendergrass Park. Conar said a performer will teach the kids the origins of hula and the basics of the dance.
Conar said "top-notch" bands, including Convertibull from Chattanooga and the Back Roads Band out of Cookeville, Tenn., are booked to entertain next weekend. The block surrounding Rhea County Courthouse will be party central, except for the carnival and a two-day Fast-Draw Competition, a video-game shoot-out, starting Saturday at Point Park on the east side of Highway 27.
Saturday, May 7, is the festival's daylong culmination, with continuous entertainment and a two-hour parade.
According to officials in Winchester, Tenn., nurserymen in Franklin County have patented more flowering dogwoods than anywhere else in the world. That distinction is cause for celebration this weekend as the International Dogwood Festival returns to downtown.
Entertainment options run the gamut at the block party. Among the activities are a car show, tractor show, dog show, juried arts and crafts show, folk art demonstrations, signature plant auction, parade, sand dig, train ride, trampoline, rock wall, kids zone and teen zone. More than 200 exhibitors will offer food, commercial wares and arts and crafts.
Music starts at 1 p.m. today, 9 a.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday (all times are Central). The bands Bad Monkey, Four on the Floor and Soul Session are among the main acts today. Country band Ricochet will headline Saturday night at 8:30. Much of Sunday's focus will be on gospel music.
Admission is free.
For the full schedule, call 866-967-2532, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.winchesterdogwoodfestival.com.
Red Bank Jubilee
Red Bank residents will gather this weekend for the 31st annual Red Bank Jubilee.
As is tradition, the event will open with an auction at Meek's Auction, 5006 Dayton Blvd. Activities get under way at 5 p.m., with the live auction of donated merchandise starting at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday dawns with a street festival that begins with a parade on Dayton Boulevard at 10 a.m. The day will include a car show, arts and crafts vendors, activities for children, carnival games and music. Activities are centered at City Park across from Bi-Lo. Admission and parking are free.
The event is sponsored by the Chamber's Red Bank Council and the city of Red Bank. For more information, call 877-7836 or visit www.redbankjubilee.com.